November 14, 2015
Our hearts, prayers, and thoughts are with Paris after the city experienced its worst night of violence since WWII and its second terrorist attack this year, occurring on Friday evening. In a catastrophic and simultaneous attack across six locations, the death toll continues to climb and is estimated to be at least 128, with a reported 300 injured, and 99 in critical condition.
Today, French President Francois Hollande said that ISIS was responsible for the attacks, the he deems an “act of war,” as the terrorist group posted a statement online. France has been extremely active in fighting the Islamic State in Syria, and ISIS is claiming that this violence is in retaliation of France’s recent activity in the Middle East.
From an explosion at the soccer match between Germany and France at Stade de France (where President Francois Hollande was a spectator), to a hostage situation at Bataclan, a crowded concert venue, and various populated restaurants and streets brimming with nightlife, the eve took a tragic turn at the hands of terrorists and reported suicide bombers.
Currently, police are raiding neighborhoods in Paris to gain custody of the attackers. Updates state that three of the eight attackers are from a Brussels neighborhood. There is strong evidence that at least one of the terrorists who died last night may have been a Syrian refugee, as they found a Syrian passport on the scene. Additionally, another gunman was a French extremist that the police had on their radar.
Witnesses say that at each location, the attackers had time to reload and fire indiscriminately. France is currently in a state of emergency, and along with tightened border control, the entire city is eerily quiet. Places where people normally gather are closed, from museums and schools to grocery stores and libraries.
Victims from Britain, America, Belgian, Tunisia and France have been identified. As the horrific details come to light, global leaders are standing in solidarity, as America stated there is no credible threat for the U.S., while Prime Minister David Cameron notes the threat level in the U.K. as “severe.”
Like the majority of the world right now, it is hard to fathom the catastrophic events that took place last night, but our prayers remain loud and our hearts heavy, praying for peace in Paris.